E'town woodworker's furniture drawing
carves a design on a bass wood lid at her shop in
Elizabethown. Her work is showing through the end of the month
at Louisville's Kentucky Museum of Arts and Design, where her
work can be regularly seen and purchased.
Woodworker Susan Pfeiffer's furniture
offers more than a place to sit or a drawer to stash away odds and
ends. For Pfeiffer, furniture is art.
Several pieces of the furniture she's built
are on display at the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Design, where
she's been named August's artist of the month. The collection
includes a series of three-drawer chests, just 19 inches high and a
few tables and chairs.
The Artist of the Month series spotlights
established artists' new, different work, said Jennifer Montgomery
of the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Design.
She said Pfeiffer, who has exhibited work
at the museum before, has been concentrating on smaller pieces, such
as the three-drawer chests that anchor the show.
"They're really quite exquisite and we
wanted to highlight that," Montgomery said of the "treasure
Pfeiffer took up wood working in college 20
years ago. But, as an artist, she had been laying low since she
started teaching art at Radcliff Middle School in 1995. About a year
ago, she began devoting more time to designing and building
"It's a gift, or talent, whatever you want
to call it," Pfeiffer offered. "And it's something I can't give
As every piece, the chests currently on
display started as a doodle. Pfeiffer said she started cutting once
her scribbles produced the shape she was looking for — a slightly
arched top, rounded sides and chunky feet.
While crafting the wood, Pfeiffer figures
out the details, such as the chest's drawer pulls, which are made
from two kinds of wood, so they look striped.
After seven months, she'd completed the
batch of seven treasure chests just in time for the show's opening
earlier this month.
Other pieces in the show include a modern
but comfortable five-foot tall upholstered chair made from maple wood
and a coffee table featuring two interlocked horse heads carved into
basswood. The design was carved with such detail that every lock of
their manes stands out.
"It was so enjoyable," Pfeiffer said of the
carving stretched across the table. "You just sit down, watch Oprah
and carve away. It's almost therapeutic."
Since she reinforced her woodworking career
a year ago, Pfeiffer spends much of her after-school hours in
woodworking shop next to her Elizabethtown
home. Most of the shop houses tabletop workspaces and tools.
stores finished pieces in one corner room
and set up an office in the other. Off to the side, a futon,
television and variety of Swiss gouges complete her carving
Montgomery said Pfeiffer's work blends
artistic expression and functionality, which can be a difficult
"She's one artist who has really mastered
that," Montgomery said.